The India-EU Leaders' meeting on Saturday underlined their commitment to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that a stronger and more strategic India and EU relationship is crucial for ensuring a rules-based, multi-polar order.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister talked about the rationale of a stronger relationship of India not just with EU but with all the EU member states and described the India-EU strategic partnership as a force multiplier for the global good in the 21st century.
The Prime Minister highlighted India's policy of "Security and Growth for All in the Region" or SAGAR and the developmental efforts in its neighbourhood for promoting regional prosperity and also talked about the shared threat from terrorism and violent extremism.
He highlighted India's policy of "Security and Growth for All in the Region" or SAGAR and the developmental efforts in its neighbourhood for promoting regional prosperity and also talked about the shared threat from terrorism and violent extremism.
Briefing reporters about the meeting, Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup said the EU side has proposed new cooperation in high-performance computing in the context of COVID-19 drug discovery and extreme weather events.
"The EU side proposed new cooperation in High-Performance Computing in the context of COVID-19 drug discovery and extreme weather events. India is keen on taking this proposal forward," he said.
Answering a query, he said the decision to resume the negotiations on trade and investment agreement "was the most important outcome" of the meeting.
He said that Prime Minister Modi also requested the EU's support for India's joint proposal with South Africa for a TRIPS waiver on COVID-19 vaccine production-related patents.
"The US has also supported the proposal a couple of days ago. The EU's support at WTO for this waiver will ensure that we can scale up the vaccine production for equitable and global access and save lives," Swarup said.
He said the meeting in India-EU+27 format has imparted a new momentum to the partnership for scaling ever greater heights.
"It is a watershed moment in the India-EU Strategic Partnership. It is a culmination of India's efforts to enhance its ties with the EU and its Member States in recent years. The meeting reflects the EU's desire to strengthen its relationship with India and work together for a stable and multipolar world. India-EU cooperation is important to tackle global issues such as COVID-19, Climate Change, terrorism and strengthening multilateral institutions. India and the EU have effectively capitalized on the political significance of the meeting by arriving at important decisions on trade and investment agreements and also adopting a comprehensive Connectivity Partnership," he said.
In addition to the Presidents of the EU Council and EU Commission, leaders of as many as 19 EU Member States also spoke during the meeting.
"This is an indication that the priority accorded by the EU to relations with India is shared across the board by all its member states," he said.
"India and the EU have also agreed on a comprehensive and ambitious Connectivity Partnership covering digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity. The Partnership outlines a shared desire to promote a transparent, viable, inclusive, sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based connectivity. It will enable private and public investments in connectivity projects as well as leverage public funds to spur private investments in sustainable projects, through a variety of tools such as Infrastructure Investment Trusts, green bonds, debt funds, real estate investment trusts, and export credits," Swarup added.
On foreign policy and security issues, Prime Minister Modi welcomed the growing convergences between India and the EU on regional and global developments and briefed on developments in our own region.
"He conveyed that a stronger and more strategic India and the EU relationship is crucial for ensuring a rules-based, multi-polar order. The leaders underlined their commitment to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific and discussed the new avenues of cooperation in the region. Prime Minister highlighted India's policy of "Security and Growth for All in the Region" or SAGAR and the developmental efforts in its neighbourhood for promoting regional prosperity. He also talked about the shared threat from terrorism and violent extremism," Swarup said.
He said on climate change, the Prime Minister put forth India's achievements on the Climate Action front.
"India is one of the best achievers of its goals under the Paris Agreement, and in this context, Prime Minister invited the EU to support India's ambitious plans of deployment of large-scale renewable energy. Prime Minister also highlighted the need for Climate Justice to provide the necessary space for the developing countries to grow and achieve their ambition. India also highlighted its contribution to several global initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, LEAD IT and CDRI. In this context, the Prime Minister welcomed the EU's decision to join the CDRI," Swarup said.
He said Prime Minister appreciated the EU's swift response for mobilizing support to India's COVID-19 response.
"As you would recall, India had kept its supply chains open during the first wave of COVID-19 last year and supplied essential drugs and masks to several EU countries. The EU's current assistance is an example of trusted partners supporting each other in times of need," he said.
Swarup said India and EU+27 shared the view that technology should be used for achieving the welfare of our people while being rooted in democratic values.
"There was also an emphasis on keeping our networks secure. While continuing our close cooperation on global standards, both sides also shared the ambition for cooperating in new and emerging technologies, including 5G and beyond. The leaders looked forward to the early operationalization of the Joint Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, a decision of the last year's 15th India-EU Summit.
"Prime Minister also invited the EU Member States to participate in the India-EU High-Level Digital Forum that is likely to be organized later this year. The objective of the Forum is to enhance digital cooperation between India and the EU through linking of Startups, supporting the digital economy, and developing a structured approach for enhancing investments," Swarup said.
The meeting was held in a hybrid format with the participation of leaders of all the 27 EU Member States as well as the President of the European Council and the European Commission. This is the first time that the EU hosted a meeting with India in the EU+27 format. The meeting was the initiative of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. (ANI)